Jeannette Bachand shows one of the recipes she had published years ago in the popular Company’s Coming cookbook series. – Lucie Roy Photo
by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent
Next time you pick up a cookbook and gleam over the glossy pictures of the perfect dish, you could be looking at a recipe from Morinville resident Jeannette Bachand.
Bachand has had four of her recipes published in one of the Company’s Coming cookbooks authored by Jean Pare. The book it titled Dinners of the World, a 1991 National Bestseller that has selected recipes from each course offered from nine countries and Canada from coast to coast.
Bachand’s recipes include baked salmon, tourtière Quebecoise, Saskatoon pie and maple syrup pie. A colour picture of three of her dishes is found on page 17 of the book.
Bachand said the recipes came from our pioneers – our French pioneers. The tourtière is a French Canadian meat pie that is traditionally eaten around Christmas and sometimes at Easter. It originated in Quebec. It is known pretty much all through Quebec and was made differently depending on what kind of animal they had. For example, in the Gaspe area, you probably would have beef for sure or perhaps pork, but it would probably be made with venison or duck or hare because that is what they had in the area.
How her four recipes came to be published started in 1989 when she called Company’s Coming, a very young company at the time, to ask about a particular recipe for green tomatoes. To their knowledge there was nothing they could find in the recipe books that had been printed at the time but the person Bachand spoke to said they would speak to Mrs. Pare, the President, about it when she returned from her trip abroad, and that Pare would call Bachand.
“Sure, I thought. This lady had a million dollar business and is busier than a bee,” Bachand recalled. “Well, a month later upon returning from her trip, she did. What a lady. She actually took the time. She did not have any green tomato recipes at the time but she would certainly look into it and let me know. We talked for quite some time about different things like we were old friends.”
Bachand said Pare mentioned she was making a new cookbook in the next couple of years on Dinners of the World.
“Noting my French family name, she asked if I had any French Canadian recipes,” Bachand said. “I told her about my original tourtière recipe. She said she would love to have it along with any other recipes I may have. I sent it along with five other French traditional recipes.”
It was not long after that Bachand received another call from Pare.
“She phoned me back and asked if I would work for her. I thought it was a new company, and I was still working and had been there in the same company for 14 years and have a good pension and still have five kids at home,” Bachand recalled of the offer. “Should I take the chance? I thought it over and a month later called her back and explained that I can’t let it go. I still remember that call. She is a fantastic woman.
Would you believe it? Four of them are in that cookbook.”
Although Bachand’s recipes are int he book, her name is not due to the company’s style. That was fine with Bachand.
“I told my children and friends I was famous, well, almost,” Bachand said. “Life is full of surprises.”
Bachand did meet Mrs. Pare on several occasions, visiting and chatted as though they had known each other for a long time.
“When you visited her, you would be sitting around in a kitchen and this is her office and everything is there. Someone would walk in and say Grandma can I talk to you for a minute or I need to see you about something. It is so comfortable.”
Many years after the experience, Bachand is still offering advice on cooking.
Bachand said if you are going to follow a recipe, follow it exactly, otherwise, it will not work. The meat added may be a little more or less, but the herb and spice are important. Her advice – leave the spices the way they are. Go by the recipe, not what you taste.
For more than three decades the name Jean Pare, an Albertan born 1927 in Irma, has become an International symbol for good old-fashioned home cooking. There have been more than 30 million copies, more than 100 titles, with more than 17,000 kitchen-tested recipes.
Bachand said the cookbooks had passed the test of time because the recipes are made with everyday ingredients found in all or most kitchens and pantries.
The books have easy to follow recipes using most common affordable ingredients.